It is pleasing to hear our country’s senior terror fighters say that they were hopeful that Bangladesh did not have any threat from any kind of terrorism. But the carnage of Muslim religious extremists is an example how intelligence warnings were ignored about an impending terror attack.
As this piece is written the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has raided a terror hideout in Dhaka and gun shots along with sounds of explosions suggests that some extremists were hiding in that tin-roofed house. The roof also blew away.
The IS has claimed responsibility for the blast of a home-made bomb in Gulistan area on Monday night that left four policemen hospitalised, just days after the country’s counter terror chief brushed aside any threat of terror attacks.
Thus it is clear that Bangladesh has no room for complacency about the threat of terror attack as these terror groups would not give up and continue their efforts to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, which is a religion of peace and love.
Lessons from beautiful, but now blood-soaked Sri Lanka is many.
The government failed to alert its people and failed to keep an eye on new or unknown faces, suspicious people and their movements. The government failed to do its part in many ways. It did not only ignore the intelligence info, but it did not keep watch on the activities of the Islamic outfit called National Thowheeth Jama'ath that was a threat as it was linked with the Dayes or IS.
Whether Dayesh is involved or not is another question, but how could so many terrorists move into Sri Lanka and spread across the country, and then plant so many bombs are issues that need to be investigated by all countries facing the threat of terrorism so they learn to take measures before its too late.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rightfully alerted security agencies to be vigilant, asking them to resist militancy unitedly.
“Efforts are being made to conduct attacks in Bangladesh, not only the intelligence agencies, but the common people too will have to remain alert and immediately inform the law enforcement agencies if they find anyone involved in terror and militant activities as we want peace in Bangladesh,” she was quoted as saying By the media.
A study released in Daily Sun set out some telltale signs to help detecting if a young person was getting drawn to militancy in the name of saving Islam. The study said young minds are fed with fake Islam and THE way to heaven if they joined the “Jihad.”
Parents have a great role to curb the spread of militancy and the message should be spread from the cities to the smallest villages, although militant organisations target educated youths from well-off families.
The most important indicators are, people from these young groups generally start getting introvert avoiding family, relatives and friends and become more interested in Islamic studies. Many start keeping beards and dress like Islamic clerics with more visits to some selective mosques under a chosen Imam.
A country born with secular principles faces this crisis due to the over-use of Islam in politics initiated by the assassinated president and military ruler General Ziaur Rahman. His rule destroyed Bangladesh’s secular mosaic and brought to power religious fanatics including 1971 war criminals.
The main group was the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami which was banned by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman soon after independence for not only opposing the birth of Bangladesh, but also joining the Pakistani army in killing innocent people and raping women.
Two leaders executed for war crimes were made full minister in Khaleda Zia’s 2001 cabinet, thus giving them a free hand to give birth to many people like Bangla Bhai --- local militants.
Thus it is necessary for every Bengali to help thwart terrorism and not only depend on the state as the militants are not outsiders, but mostly very much Bangladeshis.
Nadeem Qadir is the Consulting Editor, Daily Sun and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.